The quality of our relationships is very much dependent on what we know about each other, what we do, and who we are in our relationships.

The quality of our relationships romantic and otherwise matter. A lot of the issues that we come up against when we struggle with dating and forging healthy relationships are rooted in essentially attempting to create ‘quality’ relationships even though we’re not involved in a healthy partnering, whether it’s down to incompatible core values or unhealthy behaviour, which will eventually render you incompatible anyway no matter how many other things you claim to have in common.

If you tend to think about you or what happens in your life in terms of being “good enough”, you’ll find that when you consider the quality of your relationships, far too much emphasis is put on ‘worth’; you’re thinking that there’s something wrong with you that is affecting the quality of the relationship or what the other person is doing, while at the same time putting the other person on a pedestal and giving over all of your power.

The quality of our relationships is very much dependent on what we know about each other, what we do, and who we are in our relationships. Note that I said know not assume, do not talking about doing stuff but it not materialising or contradictory actions that possibly might contradict words, are as in, whether we are our true selves or fake selves or even doormat selves, and the same for the other party.

This is why there are people who feel really ‘connected’ with someone in spite of the fact that when all is said and done, they don’t hold a great deal of knowledge on the other party.

It’s also why some relationships seem to have more time spent fighting for them or making up from fighting for them than they do actually living them because so much time and effort is devoted to passive aggressively or aggressively trying to ‘make’ the other person be or do something or to surrender their values.

It’s definitely why so many people seem genuinely surprised that they’re not in a ‘quality’ relationship with someone who by their own admission is aggressive or shady. If someone’s told or shown you that they are certain things, it’s only betting on potential and denial that is creating the “surprise” element when they live up to being who they are.

Healthy, mutual relationships happen organically with two people copiloting the relationship while also retaining their identities and owning their own. i.e. none of this making other people’s behaviour about you malarkey.

The quality of what we try to make our relationships out of matter.

You can’t override valid concerns with connection, chemistry, sex etc and plough ahead because when the pain kicks in, it will be over the very things that you thought you could ignore or shove under the carpet. Healthy relationships aren’t built on a foundation of wonky, busted or non-existent boundaries or all manner of secrets, lies, or things you’re ignoring. All the love in the world won’t erase these issues.

It matters about who we engage with, what we put in, what we take out and basically what we try to make a relationship out of.

It’s best to enter into dating and relationships by starting as you mean to go on because deciding to consider the healthiness of your relationship when you’re knee-deep in it and then attempting to reverse-engineer a healthy relationship out of a not so healthy one is a flawed plan.

The development of a healthy relationship is organic – there’s no such thing as an instant relationship even if it might feel like it at the time.

When we try to jump ahead to an intensity, feelings, expectations, experiences, and a relationship that doesn’t reflect the effort put in or the knowledge, we’re taking a shortcut. It’s the same with self-esteem – whether it’s trying to get it from external sources or thinking that you can go from a habit of not treating you with love, care, trust, and respect to ‘great self-esteem’ in a short time.

– If you’re not being you in the relationship, the quality of that relationship for you isn’t going to be particularly good no matter how much you try to convince you otherwise.

– If one of you is behaving in an unhealthy manner, this affects the quality of the relationship no matter how much betting on potential and cloaking in denial. You can’t be ‘healthy’ for the two of you.

– Two of you behaving in an unhealthy manner just equals more pain. The shadiest of folk also know how to attach themselves to people who don’t have the greatest of self-esteem and who have unhealthy relationship habits, and they end up taking them down and draining out whatever remaining ‘resources’ they have, often while boosting themselves.

All of these things affect the quality of a relationship because you can’t copilot plus these issues affect the landmarks of healthy relationships – intimacy, commitment, progression, balance and consistency as well as shared core values along with love, care, trust, and respect.

That’s why it’s important to continue to work on your relationship with you because you’ll see the quality of your relationships improve, not because you change those around you, but you change the type of people who you’re attracted to and also how you feel about and deal with those around you.

The quality of your interactions and relationships dramatically improves when you don’t see everything in terms of your worth as a person and you’re not going around in investing your energy, effort, and emotion into people and things that detract from you.

We like to put things in the proverbial microwave and cook it in quick time. We want to know how things will ‘end’ or shape up to be now. We want to know if these dates mean a relationship even if we don’t feel a great deal or we want to know if the relationship is going to last until the ends of time even though it’s just started. We don’t want to walk away even when we know that we really need to and we worry about having put in a date / few dates / months / few months / a year / several years so we ignore everything and try to force it and ourselves along.

When you look back over various relationships and consider who you genuinely enjoy spending time around, who has turned into a lifelong friend, who’s flaky, who leaves you feeling uneasy, who you seem to have to put an awful lot of thought into how you’ll ‘play’ things, or how you think you look around them or whatever, you can see clearly which relationships have evolved organically over time without you having to orchestrate, coerce, suppress, or put yourself on the sacrificial alter for.

Note that continuing to do the same things – carrying the same baggage, beliefs, behaviours, and habits – and expecting something different to happen is relationship insanity.

An organic relationship doesn’t feel forced. It feels natural in the sense that it’s not contrived, it’s mutual and it’s evolving, as opposed to “Oh my gosh! This feels so natural!” when they’ve just told you that they’re going to take you to meet their parents, suggested a holiday and mentioned starting a family even though you barely know one another.

Organic relationships are healthy so while they won’t be problem / stress-free, this is altogether different from basically trying to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear. They have life, they grow (you know something is very wrong when the relationship goes in fits and starts, regresses, or comes to a halt), there’s togetherness, shared values including common goals and striving towards common outcomes, and they’re not fantasy and fakery.

You’re getting to know one another as you really are (and not trying to to make one another change), the relationship is continuous and you have mutual dependence but are still each independent, and you don’t need to tell long-winded stories or list excuses to describe or legitimise the relationship, the other party or even yourself.

The quality of your relationships matter and you will find that you’re happy both personally and within your relationships as a natural byproduct of a better relationship with you and by not persisting in unhealthy interactions.

Your thoughts?

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

156 Responses to The Quality of Our Relationships *Matter*. Forget Forced, Go Organic

  1. Tulipa says:

    “Two of you behaving in an unhealthy manner just equals more pain. The shadiest of folk also know how to attach themselves to people who don’t have the greatest of self-esteem and who have unhealthy relationship habits.”

    I recently re read the post are you involved with an assclown, and I was.

    I showed him who I was

    *Someone with low self esteem
    *Someone who didn’t do confrontation about issues
    *Someone who was willing to shove things under the carpet
    *Someone who accepted boundry busting
    *Someone who didn’t have actions and words matching
    *Someone in very heavy denial about how things really were I seemed to live here for many years.
    He showd me who he was
    *A boundry buster more and more outrageous
    *A liar
    *A future faker in some respects
    *A re set button pusher
    *A shedder of crocodile tears/I’m not that bad attitude
    *A cheat
    *A user of the drip feed manouver
    *A changer of the goal posts

    No wonder we went round and round we suited each other in our behaviours.

    I guess we did know each other but it sure didn’t make a healthy or organic relationship.

  2. Revolution says:

    Damn, girl. That was one fine ass post.

  3. Max says:

    Could not have created a better Post. IT TAKES 2 people. And sometimes even if we Behave badly we know deep down ignoring the Shady Sh_t will eventually grow old and we will move on. I don’t care how HOT the AH_le is All that assclown behavior grows old. Move on – Move Up and Love yourself first!!!

  4. Ramona says:

    Hi Natalie and readers. I was wondering, do you think these things also pertain to friendships? For example – it feels like I offer and give so much in my friendships with little to nothing in return. I am the single childless one but don’t wives and moms still want to have friendships that are meaningful??

    • Robin says:

      Anyone would want a meaningful friendship; one meaningful friendship is a lot better than having many horrible ones. I used to have horrible friendships where I was bullied or the arguments kept happening but led nowhere. Believe me, this post definitely applies to friendships.

    • Vera says:


      These same words most definitely apply to friendships also. Manipulators and users will ALWAYS find the ever-helpful and giving people-pleasers.

      If and when the people-pleaser wakes up and quits doing for their friends, their friends soon become ex-friends. Ask me how I know.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey Ramona,

      My experience, having several friends with kids, is that you just have to both adjust your expectations. I think moms with kids need all types of friends; ideally they should base their relationships on what kind of person they want in their life, as a friend, who has similar values.

      I have never had friends whose children got used as excuse to not be close…but I did once have a “breakup” with a friend, many years ago, who adored me when she was single, and as soon as she met the man who would become her husband she became this very kind of smug person. She had never really had very healthy relationships and after she met him she became, a la Bridget Jones lol, the “smug married”. She was always expecting me to drop my plans at the last minute whenever she had a jealous moment about her husband ( another drama in itself) but as a single person, who at the time was also studying full time at night AND working full time I was just supposed to wait around until she wanted to squeeze me in. It got old. Finally after she literally stood me up one day, never responded to my call and then 2 weeks later, mentioned that she had been “too depressed” to go for a walk and hence, she had not even cancelled…I set a boundary. I sent her a terse email, stating that I understood feeling low, but I felt very disrespected and in the future, if she just did not want to do something, she needed to tell me in advance so I could make other plans. She never responded. I was so hurt. we had been freinds for about 3 years and had spent a lot of time together. So I finally a month later called her at work. She never answered but later I got this “breakup” email, basically saying that she and her husband needed to spend their time with couples and others that shared the same goals and lifestyles. It was so shitty. I called her, her husband answered and he literally was like “I know I told her that she is being a huge bitch but she won’t speak to you. I am so sorry, she can be really self-righteous”. So at least I got a little validation from him. Anyhoo, after that, she and I never spoke again. I would see her on the subway and she would just act like she never knew me. It was really odd. All that I can think of is that,maybe, for her, I was kind of a reminder of her ungraceful single years, that she wanted to leave behind.

      So bottom line; all kinds of people want all kinds of friendships but you have to suss out who you trust and really it takes a long time to know someone. I was shocked that she treated me that way, I thought that I knew her, but after 3 years of hanging out at least 3 times a week and working in the same office, I did not know her at all:(

      You know though, I have some wonderful friends now who are married and they don’t make me feel like a loser:)

      • Anon says:

        This. Is so true. ” All that I can think of is that,maybe, for her, I was kind of a reminder of her ungraceful single years, that she wanted to leave behind.” I find it hard to relate to all of these posts about ‘flush him, move on” as if there is a constant supply of men to meet and reject? Maybe for young people, but not once you are older and EVERY ONE is married. And, you are single and no longer included. Even her husband admitted she is unreasonable, but he married her didn’t he?

        • Lilia says:

          Anon, I´m not so sure about that. When I was in my 20s I didn´t feel there was such a large supply of available men anyway, they were either involved with someone else or simply not interested/compatible. I did meet a lot of people when I was younger, but I just didn´t click with everyone. I think this idea of a larger/smaller supply has more to do with the dynamics of internet dating, not with real life.

    • Skadia says:

      Absolutely! I actually got blamed for “not accepting” someone’s kid because I chose not to attend events when her (soon to be uncovered as a cheater) husband couldn’t make it. I couldn’t believe it. Then I got maligned for “being a party girl” at 29 for still going out and “unable to find anyone nice because of my lifestyle”. Funny, she was the same one that took up with my ex socio narc when I finally had the wherewithal to FLUSH. Interesting how when you flush sometimes you discover there’s more than a man in that porcelain bowl 😉

  5. Emily says:

    Great post, so many of us become so consumed just with obtaining a significant another that we overlook major flaws in favor of companionship in any form. Some important things to remember here. Thanks for the post!

    • Marilyn says:

      YOu said it, Emily! I’m 57 and have done this to the point that I will be alone forever before “settling” for Mr. Wrong.

      • Kata1l says:

        Emily, I turn 55 next month and I can relate. I have been dating for the last 14 months, and “kissed” a lot of frogs. I am trying to let go of 2 men that are not meeting my needs. One is much younger, sweet, funny, good in bed, etc. But he has no idea how to treat a woman, and only sporadically contacts me. The other man is 2 years older, but there is absolutely no chemistry, even though we have been dating 4 months. Sometimes I feel it is my destiny to be alone. I need some encouragement from all you friends out there on letting go. I am trying to stay busy but it is so hard. Neither of these men are bad men, but if they are not meeting my needs, I need to find the courage to forget them and move on. The younger man lives just 5 houses down from me, and I am even considering moving in 3 months just to be further away, as it hurts to drive by and see him at home, when he knows it is my off day, and does not even contact me or invite me over. I think he is just clueless about relationships but that is not helping me any.

  6. Chrysalis says:

    Nat, I spent too many years trying to ‘mould’ a relationship into something it wasn’t. I wanted emotional intimacy, closeness and a sense that there was participation in the relationship from my (now ex) husband. I’m sure he wanted stuff from me that I wasn’t providing. We both lacked the courage to be honest with each other and looking back now I realise that most of our relationship was conducted in a passive/aggressive war of attrition. He also possessed a monstrous sense of entitlement which meant it was either his way or the high way. Things finally broke down irretrievably when I found out he was cheating on me (again). He’s gone and I am working my way through the wreckage. I read somewhere that we become the company we keep and I realised that I did not like the person I was becoming and I was reverting to withholding and dishonest behaviour in response to his inability to tell the truth. In hindsight we both behaved in a less than stellar fashion. These realisations are a huge release for me as I have moved from the ‘victim’ stance to owning my part in the situation and I am now using this awareness to forgive myself, make meaningful changes, and most importantly MOVE ON. Thanks Nat for your blog, your courses and your advice. Without these articles and the other courageous souls who are generous enough to share their experiences via this forum I truly believe I would still be floundering in victim mode.

  7. miskwa says:

    Damn, that WAS one fine ass post. This made my day because once again, at a gathering of colleagues, I was pressured to just settle for “less than” and “casual”. Bull. I remember when my ex and I were together, it was effortless, we talked about serious stuff easily, we really respected one anothers values and qualities. Now it’s as though I am being pressured to ignore red flags, give up my lifestyle and values, dumb down. None of these things worked in the past and they’re probably not gonna work now. Sometimes I do feel that maybe I was just meant to have the one good relationship. If or when I decide to go on line again, I will take BR with me and will not tolerate any lying about health, age, physical characteristics, or relationship goals. I was pn line for about 6 months after AC but became sickened by the poor quality and dishonesty out there. However, it was good practice for weeding out all manner of unsavory folk, applying those BR tools. Ramona, picking good friends is even more important than lovers as friends tend to be around for the long haul. Toxic friends can do a lot of damage as it’s more subtle. After dumping one toxic friend in particular, I felt almost like a survivor of trauma. Someone who takes and takes without giving is a real problem. We also have a problem if we continue to dump our care down the equivalent of an empty well.

  8. Alyx says:

    fantastic and totally on-point.

  9. tired_of_assanova says:

    It takes two people to make a relationship, but only ONE to FLUSH!!

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hah good one TOA:)

    • Fearless says:


      So true. Flushing has not come very organically to me. People who know when to flush have way more chance of moving forward into quality, organically driven relationships.

  10. Sumumu says:

    great article that sums up so many important issues that I’m striving to live by!

  11. FollowURIntuition says:

    Amen Tulipa! I love that list and it sooo applies to me! Misery sure does love company!

    I have been in NC for 2 months (after i responded to his email) and there are ups and downs but at the end of the day I try to be mindful of one positive thing about not being in a relationship with the ex.

    I have done a lot of soul searching past couple of months and continue to do so. Part of my healing process is this blog. I share it with my friends, read it at night and think about and reflect on things for me. I must admit a lot of I still try to battle with is how our relationship ended (the fact that we went back and forth; that I broke up with him a million times using that to get him to change his ways-lack of respect and financial irresponsibility among other issues I had with him; all of which led to be in a relationship not just dating within a week of us not being together but still having sex) The part about him lying to me and blasting his new relationship on social networks really hurt me especially when he was still sending me emails about missing me (jerk i know!). But as I began to really deal with my feelings (and obviously my own part in the relationship) I have realized he was an asshole even when we were together.

    When I first met him, I totally dived into a relationship with him. Why? Because I had my own insecurities and lack of self love. Here was a man that told me he loved me right away, etc and I fell for it. He was a boundary buster, manipulative asshole and emotionally abusive and language wise. And I am learning to accept that somehow I was the one that also allowed this behavior because I didnt have boundaries set up.

    So regardless of who he is with unless he deals with his stuff its gonna all repeat. So I wish them both luck because they are gonna need it. She knows he just got out of a relationship and from that alone she has her own unhealthy relationship habits. I am trying to not judge them but choose my own path and that is not rebounding.

    I am also loving myself ladies. And that is what I appreciate most about this blog. I (we all do to some extent) lost so much of who I was by trying to please him and to make the relationship work. I agree with you Natalie, a relationship has its problems but ultimately its about growth, sharing same values etc.

    I took a step back and am beginning to see that once I started to love me I realize I cant love him or the relationship the same. And that gem of self knowledge has been my biggest push to remain in NC.

    Happy New Year Ladies! :)

    • Chrysalis says:

      Happy New Year to you too FollowURIntuition. Love the insight that self love is incompatible with ‘loving’ someone who treats us badly and does nothing to deserve our love. I have learned a hard lesson, I will ALWAYS put my welfare as paramount.

  12. Australia says:

    Holy crap. Do you read my mind? Seriously. Here I am a little too eager to get something started with someone I barely know, and I read your advice of taking it slow and organically … not to rush. Have a life. Get to know them slowly, not force seeing them more.
    Thank you thank you thank you. What great timing to remind myself to SLOW DOWN and enjoy this.

  13. Chris says:

    I have decided to end the cycle of bad habits which are not self-loving and dont allow me to respect myself. I didnt see how baf it was before but now it’s clear how I bend over backwards for men who really dont give a crap. Not realizing that they dont respect me for it and end up leaving anyway.

  14. Spinster says:

    A much-needed “check yourself” post. As usual, thanks for the words of wisdom.

  15. teachable says:

    Hi folks.

    Good post Nat. Been trying to work on this topic but stumbling with it. An attempt with my sister (a problematic r.ship I’m trying hard to make healthy in terms of our interaction) at addressing an issue which arose just prior to xmas, completely failed. As I used ‘I statements’ to say how I felt in response to her behaviour (ie that it made it harder for me to trust her) she responded by just hanging up the phone on me. (We live too far apart to speak in person). I haven’t heard from her since. I’ve decided to let that stand. I was confronting her about being inappropriately manipulative regarding me to my son & no I’m not sorry for letting her know that her behaviour was either of those things. What I’m noticing though is that when it is truely the other party whose behaviour is inappropriate, when challenged about it, they seem to be literally unable to take any responsibility for their behaviour. If someone is behaving in such a fashion the less I hear from the better (I suspect, as sad as this is).

    On the other hand I confronted a friend (the one I’ve on here abt previously) about disrespectful behaviour today & opposite to my sister, she seemed to be able to spend time reflecting & talking through our differences (& I did not hold back either, I put it ALL out there, including admitting I felt used by her & why, even though this may not have been her intention etc). The upshot of this was a pleasant arvo spent (hopefully?) mending some stuff there & the development of greater understanding b.tween two ppl.

    Not so with my sis.

    Obviously, I still have more to learn…

    • Revolution says:


      “What I’m noticing though is that when it is truely the other party whose behaviour is inappropriate, when challenged about it, they seem to be literally unable to take any responsibility for their behaviour. If someone is behaving in such a fashion the less I hear from the better (I suspect, as sad as this is).”

      Yep. This is the ENTIRE issure, in a nutshell. But they are MAKING A CHOICE. Not everyone doesn’t own up to their mistakes. SOME people do, and then work hard to change them. Some don’t. Both are CHOICES. And yes, it IS sad (for the both of you) when they choose not to work on themselves and the relationship. I’m sorry you’re having these difficulties on top of everything else, as I know how draining they are (boy, how I know). But don’t kid yourself. She IS capable of making a different choice, we all are. She just chooses not to.

      • Revolution says:

        P.S. Teach–

        Brava for unswervedly telling it like it is. Not that I expect anything less from you.

  16. teachable says:

    ps interesting I met a gentleman while out last night who brought me a couple of cokes & we exchanged numbers re matters unrelated to dating. I was laffing to
    myself quietly inside as he fed me a bunch of crap lines abt how ppl ought to loosen up, have a little fun, wouldn’t I perhaps consider a casual f*ck buddy arrangement with anyone EVER, blah blah. He was also so obviously committment phobic it may as well have been flashing over his head in neon lights! lol As he was talking, I had an image of a snake oil salesman selling dodgy wares & thought, ‘I’ll be polite & give you straight answers NICELY so as not to offend you but I am NOT buying what you’re selling mister! He ends up saying, ‘aww, what’s wrong with that?’ Later he tells a story abt a mate whose ONS turned into 6mth psycho lady. I reminded him. THTS what’s wrong w it! lol

    • Selkie says:


      Boy, do I hear you about sitting in front of these guys while they spin their web and seeing the EU so clearly that it IS like a neon sign over their heads. When this happens I don’t say much anymore but sit and grin while they throw out the bait. They get the message when I decline without explaining myself. They know. I tried a few times to explain that I wasn’t interested in dating at the moment but they almost ALWAYS respond with the, “It’s okay, I don’t have any expectations.” Yep buddy, I already know that. Thats code for ‘lets be casual’. It does have the slimy feel of a used car salesman trying to sell you an overpriced car that wont even start, calling you honey and complimenting your body ( Do you work out?), while telling you what a great investment it is. It’s a HOLLOW investment. I have met a few guys recently in Meet Up groups that have shown signs of EU during the first conversation. I find it predatory and that really creeps me out. In truth, I think I’m ready to date again, but it has to be organic and not forced. I am not pursuing it at all, but just living my life trying to be happy. If it comes around my way I will be ready but I don’t NEED it to feel fulfilled.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Augh I feel you ladies.

        I would never have the confidence to wear it, but sometimes I wish that I had a T-shirt that said: “Yes I look great for my mid-forties, but I am not interested in young boys who think that I can “teach” them something, 40-50 year olds who want to date 20-something but will “settle” for taking me out, thinking that I will be so grateful, or being a step-mother to a child that you cannot a) provide for b) show interest in. There is also a WHOLE other list that needs to be met. If you got this far, you are still interested, and you want to know the rest, ask me. Have a nice day.”

        Okay, maybe that would be a little too long for a t-shirt…a mumu? A long cocktail dress? Kind of like the Vera Wang “Omm” line, but a little less centered;)

  17. Christina says:

    Great stuff, and very timely for the New Year. After a string of disastrous pseudo-relationships in my youth, the thing that struck me in my first good relationship was: “Wow, this is so easy!”

    I never had to worry if we were really in a relationship (one ex liked to switch from committed to not, several times a day when he was feeling “unstable”)

    I didn’t have to worry that a disagreement meant the end of the relationship.

    I didn’t have to worry about being good enough-his words and actions demonstrated that he thought I was great

    I didn’t have to worry about where this was going, because the whole thing just developed naturally, up to and including marriage.

    Even though we faced some big challenges early on, they were life challenges,not caused by the relationship, and getting through those together made us trust each other more.

    Life is hard- your relationship should be easy.

    I think we just get conditioned to accept crappy relationships, because a lot of people would like us to believe that those are the only kind on offer.

    • Tulipa says:

      “I didn’t have to worry that a disagreement meant the end of the relationship.”

      Sounds so good, I think this is always a fear of mine if I confront an issue that they will leave.
      Though once or twice when with the EUM the problem and not confronting it outweighed the fear of loss. And he did adjust his beahaviour so maybe that is a lesson learned.

      I like the list you made.

      • Acceptance says:

        “I think we just get conditioned to accept crappy relationships, because a lot of people would like us to believe that those are the only kind on offer.”

        I loooove this! Sooo true. You meet a string of assclowns and start to think that’s the only thing on the menu. IT AIN’T!!!

  18. nancy says:

    great advice. I am currently going back and forth with my feelings with my AC. He’s a charmer and when I am with him, he brings excitement and fun into my life. But then the dreaded weeks of silence that make me crazy…but then on target, he charms his way back in. This post reminds me that I need to set my boundaries and not accept his lies and other women. He will not change…and it’s my behavior of enabling him that needs to change. But it’s tough.

    • Allison says:


      It’s even tougher to continue the drama-cycle. It becomes so clear and easy, when you finally let go and give yourself some peace and kindness.

      Please don’t waste any more time with someone who is not worthwhile.

    • Fearless says:


      he doesn’t sound like a charmer; he sounds like a harmer. “Excitement and fun” comes at too great a cost and is often confused with drama and/or an unrelenting emotional roller coaster ride. I also suspect that it’s because these men treat us like shite half the time that the other half feels like excitement and fun by comparison. It’s not exciting and it’s not fun to be ignored, to be picked up and dropped like an old boot, to be lied to, to be cheated on and manipulated by the man in your life (who, believe me, is having all of his needs met, and at your expense) It’s more like masochism. If you are in a relationship you are entitled to expect love, trust, care and respect – security and consistency. Why do you not think so, is the question. Why do you prefer this kind of “fun” is another question. It may help you to think about those.

      Hoping you find your way.

    • grace says:

      I,m gonna break it to you. Healthy long-term relationships are not exciting. You will have fun, but not all the time.
      Arguing about what to have for dinner in the supermarket is not exciting, being there for them when one of their parents is sick not exciting, supporting them in a job crisis is not exciting.
      Wondering whether a man will call or show up and spinning yourself fantasies could be described as exciting. I guess the adrenaline is up and so is the anxiety. But, in those weeks how much fun are you having?
      You,re gonna tell me now that the sex is great. It probably isn,t. you just think it is after the weeks of waiting, but even if it is, is it great enough to make up for the huge downside?
      If your job is boring, put yourself forward for extra responsibilities or find a new one, if you,ve no friends, make some, if your evenings are lonely do a class,if your weekends are empty go to church. The answer to those problems are not, find a disappearing man. Or any man in fact. You,ve a better chance of meeting someone worthwile when you have a measure of fulfilment in yourself. At it,s most basic at least you have something to talk about instead of raptly admiring him on the pedestal you put him on.
      I used to think the ex playa was exciting but truth be told he was just very good looking and EU. I had much more interesting conversations with his flat mates. He himself was too shallow and we had nothing in common except we both thought he was great!
      I am with someone less exciting and more predictable. I know he will do what he says, he will see me whenever I want, I know where he is. He,s consistent. There aren,t any shocks or surprises. I even knew what he would get me for Christmas. i don,t feel i,ve won the lottery just because he texts or calls.
      I also have to step up and be consistent, not be moody or get withdrawn, share myself and my time, live according to my values, not wind him up to see what I can get away with. In a way it,s more demanding than just waiting for Mr unavailable to drop by but it,s more rewarding and it,s more grown up. I,m not saying I,m more mature than you, but you cannot be a full person in a bad relationship. You can try very hard to be good, to please, to put him first. But it,s not really you, is it? That,s what makes these relationships so hollow. When it all ends you know that for all the months and years, he never knew you. Not that he wanted to.

      • natashya says:

        “… we had nothing in common except we both thought he was great!” LOL

        thank you for that, i needed that.

        i agree with you about ‘exciting’ though. my relationship with the last EUM wasn’t ‘exciting’ though, it was calm and peaceful (in the beginning). there was no wondering when he would call. he called when he said he would. he showed up when he said he would. no inconsistencies or guess work. i even remember telling my sister what a breath of fresh air it was not to deal with all the ‘excitement’. it actually felt really good.

        okay, the story did not end well as being EU is a recipe for disaster, but you catch my drift 😉

        • nancy says:

          I love that comment too because all we ever talk about is how great he is! He just called to ask me in for breakfast (translated..come eat and then have sex). When I declined, he wrote “You do know that I don’t like to hear “no” from you.” Now I’ll be punished…when I suggest we get together, he’ll say no. Such a game!

          • Allison says:


            You really need to address what you get from such manipulation and inconsistency?

            Does this relationship feel stable and fulfilling?

          • natashya says:

            nancy, you shouldn’t be hearing the chime of an incoming txt/sxt message from this assclown. the only sound you should be hearing is the sweet sound of you pushing the mental FLUSH! handle.

            this guy is a certified AC and is not deserving of your time, energy and attention.

            remedy: full NC

      • nancy says:

        Thanks! We spent a weekend away recently, of which I paid for everything, and he didn’t even say thank you. His only comment “glad you had moments of happiness.” Then nothing from him until a text last night wanting sex. I ignored it. But don’t believe for a moment that I didn’t want to jump in my car and go to him. Ugh!

        • Fearless says:


          This guy is taking the piss. His comment is very patronising – and tells you exactly how he sees the dynamic between you. He believes his crumbs of attention (his mere presence) is a feast in the desert for you (quoting from Nat there); trouble is you also believe this.

          He throws you a crumb and you both act like he’s just offered you the crown jewels. It’s crumbs, it’s a booty call, Nancy, and you deserve, should expect and are entitled to better.

          • Fearless says:


            I should also say, good for you for ignoring the booty-call this time. Get some distance from him, and things will become clearer.

        • Mymble says:

          Oh Nancy
          I got an email almost word for word …”at if i gave you a moment of happiness..”
          So patronising! I feel the need to scream into a pillow! Like you, I thought he was the cats maiow, and so did he, so of course it was natural for him to feel that he was bestowing a great honour on
          me, just by letting me breathe the same air as him! I didn’t spend money on him though. You should send him a bill for the weekend.

        • Allison says:

          Oh Nancy,

          You’re also paying for disrespect?

        • Snowboard says:

          Nancy, this guy is disgusting. Seriously. Being involved with him is like gulping water from a sewer.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Nancy you should not even reply to him; his number should be blocked.

  19. Barbara says:

    Loved your book and your articles. This should be a part of everyones growning up process. We have phys ed, sex ed, we have to have relationship ed, self love ed. Keep doing what you do! Happy New Year!

  20. Lisa says:

    Been on this site for about 2 years. The things that I have put up with are such an embarrassment. I’ve always been an independant and smart woman, but when it comes to men, I fail miserably. I’ve spent alot of time thinking about my relationships and why they never work. At first, I believed it was me. But, it’s not. It is the men I choose (which is still my responsibility.) Anyhow, I am praying for a better 2013. I am tired of being used for money, sex, ego stroke and everything in between. I just want someone to love me for me. I don’t want to be someones 2nd choice. Love me for me. I wish everyone on here the very best and love and peace to all.

    • XFBwoman says:

      Amen, Lisa: this struck me tonight because I’ve had a really rough last few days, and your comment sums up basically what I’ve been feeling. My sleep has been messed up as I seem to lie awake and ruminate over every past mistake and stuck feeling I have over the last relationship. I’m now sleep-deprived, alone in the house, and feeling despairing. So I come to this site for a bit of comfort and reassurance that I am not all alone on this cold night, and that there may be hope to get out of this mess. Maybe it’s time to take a sleep aid and hit the bed. Maybe things will look better in the morning. Right now I just feel like a hopeless case and that I can’t find myself anywhere. Sorry this is such a downer, I just have to get it out there somehow…

      • Lisa says:

        So sorry that you’re having such a hard time. Things do get better though. The thing that helped me most was getting off the online dating sites. Those sites are nothing but trouble. I dated (if you can call it that) a couple of guys this last year. I tend to take things too fast. So, this year, no online dating. I went to church today for the first time in almost 2 years. My spirit felt so much better when I left because I realized that yes, I have made horrible choices, but I punish myself more than anyone else can. I have isolated myself from friends and family. But, not anymore. Yes, I made stupid mistakes, but I’ve learned a ton of things. Don’t give up. I promise you it will get better. Time does heal but you have to be willing to let it. God bless….

    • nancy says:

      Exactly…I am the consolation prize. Why I can’t move on is such a mystery to me, because I am otherwise a strong vibrant woman. It’s shocking to me the hold these men can have. Two years of cheating and lies and disappearing acts, and I STILL cling to every text, email and call. Embarrassing.

      • XFBwoman says:

        Embarrassing, yes, mostly to ourselves, when we know we owe ourselves better. It occurred to me as I fell into bed last night that it wasn’t so much HIM that I wanted–he has shown himself to be not what I need. It’s something deeper, of course: the daddy thing, abandonment in general, lack of connection, etc. He is just representing all this to me, and I think I also use the loss of him to distract myself from having to deal with the deeper issues. What happens with these men, and how we deal with the situation, is more a symptom than a cause of the distress.
        Hoping to dig deep and heal better in 2013.

      • Lisa says:

        Nancy, I know what you mean about the text and calls (although very few calls, mainly texts.) The best thing you can do is delete their numbers out of your phone. If a number calls that you don’t recognize it, don’t answer it. Let it go to voice mail. If you can ever get distance and time between you and this person, it will be so much easier. And the more days of no contact, the easier it gets. I just KNOW that we deserve so much better than what is being offered. So, please don’t let him make you feel like you’re not worth anything. Get away from him and get yourself busy. Hard to do, I know. But,if I can do it, anyone can. Wishing you the best always.

      • Little Star says:

        Nancy, I was in the same situation for almost 5 YEARS with my ex AC and almost one year with current AC, I even changed my number but they still found me! They sent me Christmas/New Year messages through email (one thing I did not block, but they were in the spam section)…I DID NOT ANSWER THEM, I realised that it is NOT worth my attention and energy, I am DONE and I am happy!!! Madness finally stops:) One thing will “save” you – NC and blocking him from everywhere, you will be in peace trust me:)

  21. lo j says:

    Barbara … totally agree. Think a lot of the world’s problems would be solved. Our world leaders need BR. Lol!

  22. pinkpanther says:

    I know it’s off topic, but I just joined FB and within minutes I got the assclown hall of fame in my inbox.

    This doesn’t seem “organic”, being forced fed toxic reminders is not something I want to subject myself to.

  23. Grizelda says:

    What I like about this post is the underlying message that there is no substitute for quality.

    Quality is where everything is at. If you have an unlimited amount of money in the bank but you work a hideous unpaid job in which they charge you £200 a day to work there, you live in a poor quality, cold, damp and damaged house in a terrible crime-riddled area, you fill it with nasty cheap goods that don’t last beyond a couple uses, and you drive an awful car that’s as dangerous as it is unreliable, yes you can say “Well, unlike some people, at least I have a job! I have my own home! I have my own car!”. Er, yes you do. But it’s those very things by which you are cheating yourself out of health, happiness and security. When you can afford anything, and you settle for a heap of garbage, you’re insulting yourself to the very soul.

    Cross-fade to relationship matters. When what you have to offer someone is a treasure trove of love, respect, empathy, support, loyalty, sensuality, fun, and a hundred other great things, that’s like having a billion in the bank. You can ‘afford’ someone equal to that in return. To possess a glittering fortune and settle for someone who is, or who you discover to be, a heap of garbage, is similarly insulting yourself to the very soul.

    I totally agree with the other commenters like Christina who say we become conditioned to accept poor-quality, costly, emotionally draining and damaging relationships only because so many assclowns, jerks, and pathological con-artists want us to believe that those are the only kinds of relationships on offer. Of course that’s what they’d say. Because with nothing more than a couple cockroaches, dust-bunnies, and a few crusty wadded-up kleenexes in their emotional treasure-trove, those are the only kinds of relationships that they themselves can afford.

    • Victorious says:

      Grizelda. Brilliant as always! I particularly enjoyed visualizing the “crusty wadded-up kleenexes.”

    • Tracy says:

      I hear ya. I can totally afford a wonderful relationship with a wonderful person.

      I just had to flush what started out to be the most promising relationship since my divorce six years ago. He was kind, considerate, funny, whip-smart, told me I was beautiful…sigh. There was no pressure and I never felt ‘worried’ or wondered where it was going. I felt, for the first time, that I could just relax, and I felt confident he liked me for me.

      Until…I started to get a little unnerved about the almost weekly ‘silly remarks’ referring to my kids as his future step-kids, my mother as his future mother-in-law, etc. I usually ignored them. Then he started, all of a sudden, to cancel dates, complaining of getting ‘overwhelmed’ with work, his ex switching visiting days, and other lame excuses. By 28 December we hadn’t seen each other for 2 1/2 weeks, I went to see him, he pretty much ended our date by 10:15, saying he was ‘tired’ Then he cancelled New Years with me, saying he was in a funk and on New Years Day, he started my day with an EMAIL saying he wanted ‘a break’…he couldn’t give me what “I needed”.

      So…he wants the ‘break’, but doesn’t want to give me a ‘reconnect and figure it out’ date. He wants me to make a leap of faith and wait around (you know, because we’re ‘so amazing together and I’m like no one he’s ever known before’ BS, BS, BS)

      I THOUGHT this was evolving organically, both sides seem to be enjoying the process, the discovery of a kindred soul, but I guess that discovery was really more me discovering this guy is a total flake.

      On to something new in 2013.

      • Fifi says:

        Ah Tracy, you just didn’t take the future-faker bait with the talk of step-kids and he realized he couldn’t manipulate you that way, like he was awarding you a future with him and expecting you to jump up and down about it.
        Good for you, shame he turned out like this, I know, but it sounds like your intuition is in good order to me, despite his flaking

  24. courtney says:

    2012 really was a year of relationship turmoil and it WAS because I was “forcing” things out of the fear and anxiety that I may not experience a healthy relationship. Ironically forcing it proved that I simply was not ready for one. I prevented the “organic” development of just being ME, being by myself…which is where I really need to be if I ever want a healthy relationship in the future.

    2012: the end of a long-term but tumultuous relationship, learning (empirically, ha) more about hook-up culture, another experience with an abusive EUM+AC hybrid, two dating experiences with possible AC’s but ironically the more positive of all of them because these men didn’t ABUSE ME emotionally and showed me positive regard/appreciation …

    It’s always strange to realize that the most positive experiences you’ve had so far in the romantic realm are because…you haven’t been abused in them. It’s sad, really, that I can’t even say I’ve had one good, healthy long-term relationship yet. Which means I am not yet ready, despite all the progress I’ve made.

    2013: I am 22 and it’s time to take a friggin break! I NEED TO BE SINGLE in every SENSE of the word (no “hook-ups,” no flings, no dating, no relationships). Enjoy my two new jobs, submit my application for graduate school (very close to being done!), figure out what I want professionally and personally in life, enjoy spending time with my friends, CREATE NEW HOBBIES, meet new people, and keep on meditating/journalling/working on my own issues (suggestions for BR readers include “Learn to Meditate” and “Meditation Oasis” podcasts–check them out!!)

    I really hope to make this year a AC and EUM-FREE ZONE! Ultimately my goal is to make my life a AC and EUM-free zone, but baby steps…

  25. teachable says:

    Selkie, I agree. Random man was interesting to observe in action. A real turn off even though we had a good natural general rapport on a non sexual level. It’s actually an attempt at a very sleazy move. I have my eyes wide open, don’t you worry.

    Also interesting was the timing of meeting him. I’ve not met a man in a long time. I decided two days ago, to walk away from a legal stoush here for the sake of my health. The weight off my shoulders, despite all the worry & $ insecurity that guarentee’s will be an issue, has been palpable. I’ve suspected for a while, once my health & $ sitch is sorted (& who knows with now with further complications maybe also a housing sitch, still yet to be ascertained), I will be ready to date, as my ‘internal work’ re men & bounderies etc is well & truely done, (notwithstanding this is ongoing throughout our lives).

    Within 48 hrs of that decision my energy must have changed in that I became approachable & along comes random man, who I met just walking down the street, on a hot evening.
    I straight up explained I was sorting out my life in some major areas still (ie just became officially unemployed etc) & thus, that I’m not ready to start dating or looking for a r.ship until I’ve sorted a few things out (we spent a cpl of hrs having a drink & chatting). He thought this unusual & said many women would look for a relationship to attempt to resolve such issues. I didn’t buy a word of it. Obvious attempt to stroke my ego. Most women I’m friends with would not do that, so whatev.

    I also made it very clear I don’t do casual sex or casual r.ships. He got my number (for other reasons, not dating, which seem legit & may be helpful) & called the following evening at 7.30pm. The call went to message bank, saying just checking if I got home ok (it was late when I went home). It was late when I got the message but early enough to text a reply (9.45pm on a sat night, & I texted as I didn’t want to talk to him) so I replied with a text & politely said yes, I got home ok & good luck w yr mums operation tomorrow (which he’d mentioned).

    I will allow him to befriend me as he did make an offer of assistance that if genuine, may come in handy down the track, but will also re-iterate that I don’t do casual sex or casual r.ships. If he seems like he’s not getting the message I’ll just cut him loose. I don’t need ‘assistance’ from someone who only wants to get into my pants! On the other hand, I did genuinely really enjoy his company & vice versa. In fact personality wise we hit it off quite well (although physically he wasn’t my ‘type’, which I look beyond nowadays anyway). I note this is quite likely b.c we are both in unavailable (except in my case I am openly so & therefore celibate, until ready for a r.ship).

    Underneath his happy exterior I sense he is quite lonely & I got enough of a sketch to work out he is also dealing with some transitional life issues (a business I sense is struggling, an ill eldery mother etc). I think he just enjoyed the company of an engaging woman for a time & I did enjoy his, apart from the pick up stuff.

    I remain on HIGH ALERT selkie. Will keep ya’ll posted & random man somewhat at arms length!!!!

  26. teachable says:

    oh yes, & one more thing, Im very aware random man’s offer of assistance may just be a future fake ploy, trying to get into my pants! so don’t worry, I dont intend to strike up any great involved friendship with this fellow, but will merely be polite at arms length & OBSERVE. his true colors will soon be revealed (if indeed not clear already, which I suspect they are). I DO need help though in the area he offered, so will just let it play out & see what happens. let’s sit back & see how much ‘quality’ random man has shall we. I will TRY not to be cynical 😉

    • Anon says:

      So far, he sounds genuine and nice.

    • Revolution says:

      Sounds like a plan, Teach. I’m rooting for you, but not worried. You know what’s what. God help the man who tries to cross you. 😉 And if he’s a good un, well then….he deserves you.

      Always good to read you, babe.

  27. Jennifer Tiffany says:

    “The shadiest of folk also know how to attach themselves to people who don’t have the greatest of self-esteem and who have unhealthy relationship habits, and they end up taking them down and draining out whatever remaining ‘resources’ they have, often while boosting themselves.”

    This is my ex to a t. Describes our whole dynamic. After three months of his lies, deception and inauthenticity, lots of future faking, using, abusing, and even crocodile tears cried in the name of my dead mother (and how sorry he felt for me) when really he was just diverting from the fact that he had gotten completely pissed from drinking a pitcher of beer and then drove me home drunk out of his mind.

    I was a mere shadow of myself when it ended. I lost all of my friends. My entire life went down the shithole. I gave everything up. I thought this is what you do in love, to compromise, and keep the opportunity to be loved. I just thought this is how love goes. That’s how pain, seduction and really fucked up men go. He continued with his first love (drinking) and went back to a former (his ex).

    These men will rip you to proverbial shreds and not give two shits/thoughts about it. They only care to use/fuck/leave and drop you so their egos don’t starve. These men are like vampires. They’re worse. They don’t deserve a second blink from the women’s souls they steal. I hate myself for giving him near everything, when all signs screamed *RUN!!!!*

  28. Jennifer Tiffany says:

    Men who will try to prevent you from having the ability to care for your own basic needs so that they may stake claim to all of you giving, and whom Natalie so aptly describes as “the shadiest of folk” are also men who will rip out your still beating heart from your chest, chew it to shreds, spit it on the floor and then slyly cock their head to the side, stare you straight in the eye and blame it all on you. Stake claim to your own heart and RUN.

  29. Jennifer Tiffany says:

    Resource stealing men see a woman that peaks their interest, seduce and future fake her, begin the invasion on her reserves, leave her depleted and then wonder why she has *changed* as she can no longer care for herself. And then they keep her stringing along and hunt for other reserves or just flat out move on without looking back nor a care in the world.

  30. asia says:

    This site is so amazing. Just getting over dealing with an EUM. He disappeared on me a year ago, but found out last month onFB he has a new.girlfriend.

    My self esteem is shredded, as I was his OW for the first girlfriend and.when he finally.dumped her but I thought I would be next!

    Im so afraid he has changed and became a better man for.her, but he is still running from confronting me so he is still the same shitty guy.

    I was searching for answers for all the hot and cold, future faking, telling me he compartmentalizes life, saying all these girls fall in love with him, but he never feels the same, saying he couldnt leave.his gf because they have the perfect couple image going, etc. And here it is.

    I am seeking help, for allowing my self to have my boundaries busted, accept.bad behavior and.crumbs and I actually hope he does.too. what a sad way for.him to live life.

  31. Better late than never says:

    Jennifer Tiffany, your ex sounds just like mine. Only I was stupid enough to let it go on for nearly 2 years. I also lost friends over being with this drunk, verbally abusive, future-faking, avoiding, manipulative, emotionally immature, insincere asshole. In fact, someone I’ve known for ages said, “What happened to the strong, kickass woman I used to know, who would NEVER tolerate being treated like this?” Good question.

    I am trying to find that woman again. Two and a half months No Contact now (he finally stopped texting, phoning, messaging, etc. when it became obvious that his “supply” had been permanently cut off). The only bright side is that nothing I have depended on him, and none of the future fakery he used on me ever came to pass, such as buying property or starting a business together. After I finally flushed him for good, it took everything I had to keep getting out of bed and going to work every morning, and truth be told, it’s still hard.

    Baggage Reclaim has helped me through some pretty dark times – reading Natalie’s words of wisdom and the stories of everyone who comments here tells me that I am not alone, and that it is possible to learn from your mistakes and move on. It just takes time and intense self-examination.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Better late than never,

      The ex before this one, I put up with for near three years, same goes for the one before that. So six years of torment from these guys. But nothing compares to my father-I put up with that cruel addict for near 28 years. I just recently cut all contact with him as he is most certainly dangerous and crazy (a lot like my most recent ex) Geez, that barely being able to get out of bed and going to work, I can so relate to. It’s been a bit over 8 months since the breakup with the last ex and I’m still struggling. I thought I was neutral and then some more stuff came up. Just hang on. We WILL get there as long as we try. Don’t give up. We do deserve to be free of these assholes and live a life with an abundance of love not pain.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      BLTN: I will second this !!
      Baggage Reclaim has helped me through some pretty dark times – reading Natalie’s words of wisdom and the stories of everyone who comments here tells me that I am not alone, and that it is possible to learn from your mistakes and move on. It just takes time and intense self-examination.

      You will find that strong kick ass women again:).. It takes time,patience & being kind to yourself to heal from these relationships. I always remind myself I can’t change the past but I can change my future & become the best person I can be to hopefully meet the best person for me. If I dont find him, thats OK too because I know now I will be OK alone.. Cyber hug to you !!

  32. amy says:

    Hi Natalie
    What about arranged marriages, I know people who have got married after meeting only twice, how can you really know someone and commit to them after such a short time. A lot of Indian marriages are arranged a lot of them work, some do not, whats your view?

  33. miskwa says:

    Jennifer T
    Cripes this a hole sounds a lot like my AC. Treats you like @#$% then criticizes you in front of colleagues for your negative attitude. Alcoholics are not only a pain, but life threatening, hence the drunk driving. Ex stepmother #1 used to drive drunk and scream at you for being afraid while she drove too fast, wove in the road etc. There’s an old Neil Young song (kinda tells you how old I am) that has the very wise words “every junkie is a setting sun”. Soooo true.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:


      My therapist told me repeatedly, “Addicts don’t do relationships.” I thought, “Oh, no this one that’s pursuing me does. Obviously. Right?” Wrong. He didn’t. So now when I think of trying to ‘connect’ with an addict or feel nostalgic, not only will I repeat the true words of my therapist, I can use “Every junkie is a setting sun.” Because, really, it is so true. And unfortunately, I’ve had to learn the very very hard way.

  34. Revolution says:

    You know, lately I’ve been thinking that the only types of relationships I want are quality. And I know that I deserve a quality relationship. But therin lies the rub: I really, truly, in my gut don’t believe that a good guy exists for me. I don’t believe in good relationships anymore. I know that there will be a lot of convincing from you commenters, and I’m sure you would be right. But honestly, at 35 years old and in the cold light of day, I’m making plans to live the rest of my life alone. Because I just give up. It’s not worth it to me to be in another relationship where I’m treated poorly by some selfish, jumped-up entitled fool. It’s beyond my capability of even entertaining the thought at this point. There are plenty of women who will take that crap just to have a relationship with these pathetic cowards, so I doubt that I will be missed in the dating pool anyways.

    I know this is one hell of a negative-sounding comment, but I’m being clear-eyed and serious when I say that I’ve just given up on men. Sorry to all the men who post here. I don’t mean to be bitchy, but I’ve just gathered so much empirical evidence in my dating life that I just don’t feel willing to give any guy a toehold so that they can wreck havoc. I’m just done.

    • Jeanne says:

      Revolution I hear you, and agree for the most part. My problem is that I have not accepted being alone for the rest of my life. I’m 43. In 2013, I’m going to focus on bettering myself, enjoying my own company more, and just living life without concern for any man who might cross my path. I’m pretty much done too.

    • Allison says:


      You have to understand that is the people you were drawn to. When you get yourself to a better place, you will no longer be attracted to these types.

      There are great men out there, you simply need to be open to them.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Aw Rev, I really hope that you’re proved wrong at some point – probably when you least expect it! :)

    • Sm says:

      Revolution, I’m sure we have all felt like you at one time or another. I think it’s just part of the healing process. It’s tough out there, I know it’s been a long road for me to come to a point where I’m relaxed and not worried about about finding someone.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Revolution… I feel EXACTLY the same way as you do. I have no interest in dating at all. Its exhausting and with my updated list of requirements/qualitiesI am looking for I dont think he exist and if he does he’s a) married to his high school sweetheart b) in a relationship with the girl of his dreams. I told my sister I am going to scope out the Obituaries for someone who lost their spouse and it states “he was a devoted husband till the end”..SHE BUSTED OUT LAUGHING.. Dating Sites are totally out of the question for me. They are full of EUM & commitmentphobics from my experience before the AC. Well actually , I met the AC on there many years ago, hmmm, maybe thats why I have such a negative attitude for dating sites :).. Anyway, I totally get where your coming from.

    • Jule says:

      Rev, I have to say I’m there also. I have 10 years on you and I’ve been married twice. I can’t see myself giving in and trying again because I really wonder if anyone that is truly good for me and my situation even exists. I had a daughter late in life and most guys my age don’t want to take that on. Ive also only met weirdos or douche bags or aClowns. I’ve made peace with the fact that I could be alone for the remainder of my days because I’m not really alone… I have daughters, family, friends: lots and lots of friends. I am single and have no drama to speak of right now. Meanwhile friends of mine are in dating hell and one had to call the cops recently on a guy. Yeah… um Do I miss all that drama? Hell no. Do I miss having someone to share with? Sure, Sometimes, but then I share with a friend or take one of my daughters to a movie or something. I’m not yet convinced and perhaps may never be convinced that being without a man is the worst thing ever.

    • Little Star says:

      Revolution, please do not give up:( I do not do dating sites, I am doing something different, like Meet Up Group (London). I enjoy meeting interesting people who loves jazz/theatre/fitness etc. WHY NOT? Who knows maybe you will meet your Right guy there? When I go to this kind of venues, I never think that I am going to meet someone special, I just enjoy being single and meeting new (the same minded) people and building friendships with them:) Please try, you will not regret!

    • Revolution says:

      Jeanne, Allison, Sadder but Wiser, SM, Kit-Kat, Jule, and Little Star,

      Wow. What an amazing group of ladies we have here, huh? :) Thank you so much for your comments. I’m not sure if it’s depression as much as it’s just me trying to be practical about my dating options. Aside from getting “older,” I have also made the decision to only date men who share the same belief system that I do. Which, admittedly, cuts the dating pool down quite a bit for me. Still, that’s my decision and so I have to deal with the consequences of that decision. Which may result in me never getting married. I don’t say this with anger or fear (although those are present), but more out of practicality. I just feel the need to have a clear direction in life and to plan accordingly, and a future without a healthy, stable romantic relationship just doesn’t seem plausible at this point. I’m not trying to be cynical, only responding to my life experience and the experiences of those I see around me. However, I do concede the point that it might be a case of me looking for what I want (expect) to see, which is a) assclowns everywhere, b) women who are lonely and who settle for being abused (whether physically or emotionally) by their men, or c) the rare few who have found love and are already committed to each other.

      Oh, I can already hear the comments that are going to come back from this, lol. :)

      Sorry, time doesn’t permit me to answer each of you, but I did get something meaningful from each of your comments. So thank you so much. Sadder but Wiser, your comment especially made me smile. My mom always pulls out the “when you least expect it!” card and it always outwardly frustrates me, but inwardly it makes the small, frail spark of hope in me a little brighter. :)

      Best wishes to all.

    • grace says:

      Yep that,s what I said, no more men.
      Famous. Last. Words.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey Rev I hear you, I feel that way too. But I keep having to remind myself that no one else would give up on me; no one else would say “Oh she is a done deal, nothing there to interest anyone, she should just sit home and eat a lot and read detective novels and pet her cat.” ( Although frankly, that is what I would like to do, except not detective novels:))

      That is insane to give up on yourself. Seriously. Are the AC’s of the world so powerful, that you will never trust again. Then they win, right;)?

      • Revolution says:

        “Are the AC’s of the world so powerful, that you will never trust again. Then they win, right;)?”

        DQ, this PISSED ME OFF.

        …..Thanks. Lol. 😉

        You’re so right and that IS something to consider. Even if the only thing my not giving up on myself will accomplish is to fight those BASTARDS until the day I die. Good enough for me.

  35. lo j says:

    Well Grace … did you knit him an orange hat or a banana hat??!!

    • grace says:

      Lo j
      Neither. Sometimes you have to respect the other person,s fashion values, compromise, and buy a normal gift.

  36. uselessthinking says:

    Help pls:Thankyou for the article. I am going through a very difficult time. I met an amazing man just after I ended an engagement. I was weak and vulnerable and thought he was amazing but I was just not ready for commitment though we were intimate. Eventually I gave in to be with him and he kept on blaming me for my past mistakes and the way I treated him when I wasn’t ready. He kept on breaking up with me. Eventually he lost his job and I was there for him and helped him find a new job. He got his confidence back and starting enjoying time with his friends and not me. We were still intimate. The past week he has rejected and abandoned me. Said we can’t be together and it will never work. I went to surprise him at home to give him a christmas gift and wanted to take him to the airport. He said I was acting like a psycho and stalker. I know deep down he’s not right for me but can’t get over him. He blames me for all the relationship problems deleted me off fbook and is totally ignoring me now after I tried to contact him to wish him a happy new!

    • Vera says:


      Sorry to hear of your situation.

      You stated, “The past week he has rejected and abandoned me. Said we can’t be together and it will never work.”

      Please go NC (no contact) with this man. If you persist in contacting him, you are clinging after he has already told you he’s through.

      I know it hurts terribly. The more time that you can be NC the sooner the pain will lessen and you can move on.

      There are tons of great articles at this site. Poke around and see what seems to fit. I’d especially recommend reading the ones having to do with people pleasing and setting boundaries.

  37. Demke says:

    Once again, and without fail! Great post!

    BR is so present in my life. The last guy I dated, only went out 4x’s. I should’ve stopped after the 2nd date, when he still wouldn’t pick up the phone to have a conversation w me, always txting instead. And I’d even say, “ok, call me later”, I’d still get a txt. Noticed he’d be in the bathroom for 15 minutes, letting me sit at the bar, by myself wondering wth is he doing in there? (more than one occasion), gave the benefit of the doubt, 3rd date, making little digs cause I wouldn’t have sex with him, just kissed. 4th date, 20 minute bathroom sessions… Still no phone convos, yet txting me how he wanted to date “only” me, didn’t feel right dating more than one person at a time, etc. Come to find out, my girlfriend txts me the other day…”are u still dating ‘. ‘, I said no, something odd about him, thought he was a jerk. She said, “well, my friend has been dating him for 2+ months!” me: “umm, he just asked me to go away last weekend for his bday, said never felt such chemistry that he has w me, but I ditched him, my gut told me to”. So, my friend is going to give this other woman a heads up, and hopefully she’ll kick him to the curb like I did.

    Goes to show how much I’ve learned, I have NML to thank. Because if I was thinking like I used to (not using my head and past experiences), I may have slept w him, and believed every word he said. But, I didn’t fantasize. He wanted to be exclusive after 2nd date, no phone conversations… I was being handled by txt. I paid attention and never thought, ‘I wonder if he likes me’. The spotlight was on him, cause I’ve got myself covered. Gave him the benefit of the doubt w the long bathroom trips (who knows, he could’ve had stomach issues, lol), but after more than once… I figured he was txting someone else. Sure enough… He was. If I ignored the red flags, and believed the ‘words’, I could’ve been the poor woman who spent 2 months on this player.

    Doesn’t take long to see whats right in front of you, if you pay attention and get to know them and how they treat you… The only thing I did was waste some time. Didn’t put out my wallet once. And glad I didn’t. Usually, I’d feel like I ‘had’ to, to be ‘nice’ and ‘independent’. BS. I am nice and independent. And I’m a lady, treat me as such, or bounce. :)

    • Magnolia says:

      Great story, Demke. You trusted your gut, not his words.

      I too thought it was weird when the ex-AC would say things like, “You’re my favorite girlfriend – what, I’m joking!” or “you’re the *only* one I want to be with” when it never occurred to me to insist he was the *only* one. Of course he was the *only* one, we were bf/gf at that point.

      When wethinks they doth protest too much, it’s because they do!

    • Snowboard says:

      What an awesome inspiring story, demke :) You handled this situation marvelously. You get a A+ in BR school!

    • Jule says:

      nice demke! Good for you.

      Hey, he sounds like the AC I dated this summer. Gawd I’m so glad he’s out of my life. You did the right thing girl.

    • Little Star says:

      Good for you Demke, well done that did not waste your precious time and flush this loser:) Yes, I agree with you with all BR knowledge (THANK YOU NATALIE!!!) we can see crap straight away!

  38. simple pleasures says:

    Today is my one year anniversary…of BR. I think
    I have met some true people of integrity and quality on this site. The first 6 months was the discovery phase and then after getting to know you and Nat a little bit, I wanted to continue to get to know you. A year ago, Runnergirl had a dog which couldn’t walk and a car that wouldn’t run. I have appreciated your year.
    Dancingqueen you posted something just before Christmas which changed my behaviour entirely for the better. (related to the TRUTH about no contact). Anyway, just wanted to say what a quality site this is that NML facilitaltes such
    positive web relationships.

    • runnergirl says:

      Happy BR Anniversary Simple Pleasures. I’m glad you’ve been here the past year. I can’t believe you remember my dog that couldn’t walk and car that wouldn’t run (and a daughter that wouldn’t go back to school). 2013 is starting off a bit better. The dog passed away last January. My daughter has a darling little kitty now who thinks he’s a dog. I bought a new car which starts. And my daughter has a new bf who she describes as “normal” and “stable” and is waiting to hear if she’s been accepted to college again. I haven’t found one of those normal stable bf’s yet!
      Natalie is the BEST.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey SP! Happy New Year! I am so glad to have helped; lord knows I mess my own life up enough it is nice to be able to help others.

      So can you clue us in on what my “wisdom” helped you do? I am curious. I can’t imagine myself helping someone deeply, I feel so incomptent myself at points:)

      I am happy that you have had a year here; think of the changes that you will make in 2013!

      So…speaking of being thankful… something funny happened today: I had a horrible power outage at home, and got a huge bill for the stuff to fix my HVAC system ( ah the clothes, or full vacation that would have paid for…a whole extra mortgage payment ick!)

      Anyhoo, the man who fixed it was a ver nice guy and we chatted about his kids ( I am teacher so he wanted to know about some things about teenagers) Anyway after he said something like “I have to be honest; you are one to the most sincere seeming and nice people I have ever met doing this job. People usually yell at me when I can’t fix things right away and you are just really nice.” And then he actually offered to fix this fan in my house that was hanging off of its base, for free! Just a nice guy. He asked me if I was single and if I would be interested in being set up with a freind of his who is ten years younger than me and I was like “Uh no” because I really don’t want to date someone that much younger. But still I was really happy to make someone’s day and be happy myself. I just feel really grateful right now, to be a happy person who has a pretty good heart ( except for when I am pmsing:))That would not have been me a few years ago. So that is nice to know. In fact, there might be some people who remember me as the HVAC customer from hell:)…

  39. Sunshine says:

    Hi everyone, need some support right now. It’s my birthday today (turned 32) and I had quite a lovely day, hanging out with my friends, until … I got a text from my ex. It’s been 2 years since the breakup and almost a year since the last “stunt” he pulled on me. I won’t go into details because I’ve already posted about this before. The thing is nobody has ever hurt me like this and I’ve only slowly been getting up on my feet again. I’ve sticked to strict NC since the end of March, when he started dating someone else. I didn’t text him for his birthday and so I really thought he got it … How much he hurt me and that it would be really hypocritical to wish me all the best for my BD. and then I got his text! Saying he wishes me all the very best because I deserve the best. And “Have a good time. Good luck, [my nickname, which he never used with me, usually only my friends do]” … And it totally broke me. I literally started sobbing!! How can he say that to me?? He has no right!! And then to use my nickname, like we’re friends now … He’s moved on, he’s happy with his new GF, and what, he wanted to play “the nice guy” and wish me a happy BD?!! And I’m not even sure what it is that made me so upset. The fact that he still doesnt understand how deeply hurt I am? The fact that he now treats me as “friends only”? What the hell? I’ve been really feeling better lately (also thanks to BR), and now it’s like someone dropped a bomb on me! I dont want to cry anymore … I’m tired … And he’s so not worth it … I hope you understand what I’m trying to say:)

    I’d really appreciate any comments on this. Has anyone felt the same at any point?? Thanks:)

    • Little Star says:

      Sunshine, the first of all, I wish you a Happy Birthday, I wish you all the best, you deserve to be loved, cared and being happy:)WOW, you are only 32, wonderful, I wish I was 32!
      Second: regarding AC. I had the same experience with ex AC, when he contacted me after 4 months of NC and I was sucked in yet again in booty call relationshit in 2010. I think your AC is feeling guilty (if he is capable!) and wants to show himself from better side…BUT HE IS YOUR PAST, Sunshine, do not answer him, not even “Thank you”, let him know by your silence that you moved on, that he is not part of your life now! Positive thoughts create positive actions, it will set you back a little, but you will bounce back:)

      • Sunshine says:

        Little Star, thanks for the birthday wishes and you reply:) I’m in no way replying to his text, I’ve already deleted it. I think the whole time he was playing with me after the breakup, he was trying to play the “nice guy” card. I’m not a bad guy, so I’ll be your friend, I won’t deny you getting in bed with me a couple of more times if that’s what you really want, blah blah blah! Playing hot and cold the entire time, being nice and friendly to me at one time and then really nasty at other. He really stole my “innocence” — we’ve discussed this before on this blog. I just couldn’t understand someone could do something like that to you at all! Well, a lesson well learned! Got damn, I’m just so angry — do these ACs know how to use their head at all?!!

    • Eponine says:


      Happy Birthday, yesterday! I was with an alcoholic, narcissist, at least for 7 months. I tried to go NC several times. Each time, I would be doing pretty well after a little while (it became harder the longer we were ‘together’).

      He lied, cheated, triangulated, managed my expectations, blew hot and cold. i felt so bad all the time. Even when he was with me, the abandonment was coming fast! it was hell and exhausting like nothing else I have known.

      One time, NC was broken, b/c he just showed up-argghhh. A couple of times, I just couldn’t do it and broke it. A couple of times, he texted me, even though I had blocked his number-I don’t think I can block texts with this phone.

      Toward the very end, he said he could never be with just one woman but if I wanted, I could come with him for some (really, really shady out there stuff that wouldn’t even be legal in the states). The whole experience with him was one big mindfu*k.

      Miskwa and Jennifer are sooo right about addicts. I glossed over a lot to be with him. I choose drama-free life, now, whatever the future holds. I already can see, at least, even if I can’t really quite grasp it yet, that being without a man is fine, if I love myself.
      I know you are much further along this process than I.

      How I wish I had held NC for dear LIFE before that that conversation/final attempt to really degrade me. He was just having fun dangling me over the abyss.

      The day after Christmas, I decided that I didn’t want this nightmare anymore and decided to face NC. I don’t care-I just threw the SIM card away. I am not taking any chances, b/c I am not strong.
      (I don’t speak the language here, very well, so customer service would just be too difficult-my phone is pay as you go)

      The truth is, I am really seeing that I am addicted to the pain, chaos and drama of this ‘relationshit’ b/c it is sooo close to how I felt growing up. I am just realizing that my father was NOT incapable, he just didn’t love me or want me. I think he had fun letting me know that-or was just feeding off my emotions, or feeling strong. Impressive.

      But, I abandoned me, too. That is the only thing I can address. The good news is that it is the only thing I need to do to get well, I think.

      So, I am learning to slow down, listen to myself, love, validate and encourage me, and try to meet my needs, so I don’t feel desperate for him anymore and it is working.

      If he called me, though, I might jump out of my skin like before and run to him.

      Personally, I’ll throw that phone in the river before I want to EVER let an AC ruin another precious day. YOU are too good for that (and you have worked dang hard to get this far!) Me, too, dang it.

      I think he is trying to assure himself that he is a ‘good’ guy, here. I think he knows better, though. Just listen to you and concentrate on you.

      After a little while, you will start to feel really fine, again. I think it will be really soon, too. Please don’t let him wedge his way into your headspace, your heart or your soul.
      And as my grandmother says, ‘never EVER let them steal you joy!’

      You are stronger than ever. Heal, and enjoy your life with blue skies ahead b/c you are obviously a kind and thoughtful person.

      You are not alone. Hope this helped a little.

      Love and hugs,


      • Sunshine says:

        Thanks, Ep, for your BD wishes:) And yes, you did help a lot:) My first NC phase with my AC was exactly the way you described it. Either me or him would break NC — I was too emotionally invested with him and he called and texted me whenever he needed a shoulder to lean on. Of course that changed after he met this new girlfriend. He simply kept me there as an option, as Nat puts it, until he found someone better. After five and a half years together that really hurt! Anyway, it’s really been better for me since sticking to strict NC. Have been focusing on myself and trying to enjoy life again. It’s still hard, especially when I hear things about him, you know. But I am feeling much much stronger now. God if I just look back at the first months after the breakup, OMG I literally nearly died! I barely existed, just sort of vegetated from one day to the next … To be honest, I can barely remember the first year, everything’s a blur really. This just proves that we can endure a lot and grow stronger with time. All my love to everyone here xxx

        • Lilia says:

          Sunshine, happy birthday to you!

          Your story is very similar to what happened to me. I also got an email for my birthday from the EUM I was NC with (this was in november) and then, as I didn´t respond, he also wrote on my fb wall. I must say it did make me tumble emotionally. For some moments, I entertained the fantasy that he missed me and had finally decided to be a normal boyfriend.

          But then I remembered a conversation we had years ago (when we were just friends). I was telling him I had texted an ex for his birthday, and that I felt silly for doing that because we weren´t together anymore but that I didn´t want him to think I had hard feelings and blahblah. So then EUM said something like Yeah, I would´ve done the same, I always do, I´m such a nerd.

          So now I´m thinking he was sort of pulling out the nice guy-friend card. He´s no nerd at all, I thought he was and that he was overall a nice person but he proved to be the most horrible manipulative lying harem king I´ve ever met. Thinking about it this way makes me angry and that helps!
          Hope that helps for you too, I think the only thing we can do about these guys is to get angry and not allow them to vicimise us.

    • Grizelda says:

      Ah Sunshine, I’m sorry you had a few moments of your day ruined by that assclown.

      I’m glad you already sussed that there’s something wrong with his self-serving actions. He’s trying to misappropriate your (your!) human empathy for his own ego trip. Yes you’re right to be angry about that. After what he did to you? He can take his filthy trash-picking hands off your emotions.

      When he dumped you, he lost all rights to your emotions, to your time, to your thoughts, and to your channels of communication. He tore up his membership card to the Sunshine Club. He resigned the role of Mr Caring Guy and demoted himself to Some Jerk I Once Knew. So why does he think he still deserves any privileges with you?

      Time and time again on BR we have descriptions of men cut from exactly the very same cloth who behave like complete and utter assholes over long periods of time — not just one-off, throw-a-drink-in-his-face-type moments, but persistent and full time solid commitment to toxic behaviour (and we think of them as ‘commitment-phobic’, hah). And yet… yet!… when all is said and done, and when they take what they want and use what they want and throw the rest back in people’s faces and walk away, the vast majority of them seem to be totally unable to handle the crippling notion that the women to whom they’ve been so hideous actually think of them as the assholes they genuinely are.

      Sunshine, he’s trying to get you to kiss the boots that he wore to kick the stuffing out of you. Nice guy? Like hell.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Okay Sunshine don’t waste time being angry…as someone who has done it myself. These guys are just little narcs and it does hurt, when your innocence is stolen, but he did not take it, he just bruised it. I promise you. You have it in you to cherish yourself and take back that innocence; he does not have the power to do that, honest.

        Chin up; do something symbolic. Write the text down and burn it, or repeat what he said back to yourself and mean it, like you are talking to him
        “have a good time and GOOD LUCK!!!!” he is so toast in your life; he is nothing but some random needy nothing.

        Happy Bday from us, who are much more terribly important;)!!!

      • Lilia says:

        Griz, all this leads me to the following question: after these Aholes have done this, what are we supposed to do when their birthday comes up?
        Just ignore or take the high road and wish them well?
        At this point I really don´t know what would make me feel more like I´m the one who´s lost.
        I´m particularly confused because I´ve been friends for years with this particular EUM, so wishing him a happy birthday is on my calendar every year.

        • Sunshine says:

          Thanks for your support, Griz, Dancingqueen, and Lilia:) and thanks for the BD wishes, I really appreciate it:) it’s so strange, living on different continents (did I tell you I’m from Slovenia, BTW?), and feeling so close:)

          @Griz: I couldn’t agree more! Who the hell he thinks he is?! As you say, he lost all rights to my emotions and everything else when he dumped me!!! And he still wants to be a nice guy. In the “aftermath” of our breakup he would actually say to me: “I’m a bad person”, so that what, I would start feeling sorry for him?!! After everything he did to me?!!

          @Lilia: you don’t write to him for his BD, especially when he treated you like dirt. You can’t be friends wih them after that. I didn’t write to him for his BD and so I kind of thought he got the message! Yeah, right …

        • Allison says:


          Would you wish a GF who had screwed you over a birthday wish?

          It’s simply another day, please do not use this as an excuse to reconnect with this guy.

        • Grizelda says:

          Lilia, my policy is NC remains NC no matter which of the 365 days of the year it is! Anything else is busting my own boundaries.

          On his birthday (which coincidentally was just a few days ago), Christmas and New Years, NC is THE most important to me. It puts him in no doubt whatsoever. For me, it says: “My gift to you is my deafening silence. I hope you enjoy receiving it as much as I enjoy giving it to you. I didn’t wrap it, and it doesn’t come with a bow or anything, but I made it specially for you. After all, it’s the one thing you didn’t fully realise you were asking for most when you dumped me a few months ago. But hey, you weren’t expecting all your dumped girlfriends to turn up to sing you a nice Happy Birthday in 3-part harmony together, naked but for high heels and party hats, did you? Well fuck that. You’re just not that special. Besides, I know what age you are now and you don’t need that kind of excitement stressing out your cold, black, shrunken old ticker! So go on, indulge yourself in my complete and utter absence. Luxuriate in it, since you wanted it so badly. It speaks loudly straight from the heart and is exactly what you deserve. Cheers now!”

          • Sunshine says:

            Hahaha, exactly, Griz!:) You always find just the right words!! Should copy this into my diary:)

  40. lo j says:

    Nancy … you wont be “punished” when you ask to get together if you don’t ask to get together. Turn around, walk away, and don’t look back. One day I decided, “What makes his feelings, wants, needs, children, time more important than mine?” And I realized absolutely nothing. Same for you. Game over.

  41. lo j says:

    Natalie … just love this post. I was talking w a sweet 19 year old the other day … who is so wise and will fortunately not have to learn as we have … that she has intrinsic worth, not from her material possessions, her job title, whether her boyfriend calls her, if she gets criticized at work or if she has done her good deeds/hail Marie’s, etc etc. We are all worthy. It took me 43 years to get this. So simple. No matter what, I am just as worthy as the next person, and they are just as worthy as I. Even if THEY are not in agreement, it is still true. We are all of equal value.

  42. Wiseful_1 says:


    Nobody has a “Hold” on you. Just an excuse to keep being USED. He probably thinking why not if you’re going to constantly allow it and pay for everything for a weekend away or not. You may as we’ll write FREE HERE across your forehead. Some women just need to wake up. 2013 is here so be better and do better for YOU. You can Nancy….really!!

  43. Marianne Davidson says:

    Thank you Natalie, your website and book have been
    a godsend. I have been no contact for only three days with my unavailable man. There is a long way to go and I find myself requiring the support of your posts at various times of the day. I wasted 18 months on a EUM and it took my mother screaming at me to realise I had lost myself completely. I was turning into a hollow person, dead on the inside. Only a text from him could turn my day from bad to good. I am not a child I am 41. He is neither bad, nor good just not emotionally available. I smacked my head off the brick wall of a man who was derelict of emotion for me. I don’t have a pattern of this, I seemed to regress with him back to the relationships of my teenage years I think that is why I took it so very badly. It ended messily on New Year’s Day via text of course he never calls. I am not proud of my texts, name calling, telling him what he did wrong etc. All the things we are advised not to do but I am proud that even after three days I am beginning to repair the relationships with friends and family that I jeopardised during my time with him. I feel rejected and hurt and it is tough to not cry constantly but he has respected my wishes so far and has not text. I look forward to a happy, healthy future without him

  44. GetSmartyr says:

    Well, the ex-BF reached out by email again to tell me he’s sorry things didn’t work out and that he misses me. I had so many different reactions, and was so tempted to just blow him up with a huge, nasty rant. I wrote the rant. I re-wrote the rant. I re-rewrote the rant. I talked to a good friend, who called me out for wanting to keep the door open just a teeny, teeny bit. Then I sent a one-line email that said I was blocking him.

    I was feeling really positive and really good before I heard from him again. It’s as if he can actually feel me pulling away and then sends out the electronic lasso to pull me back in just enough.

    Lasso-schmasso. I asked for no contact. I got contact – granted, his mom died, so I gave him a pass for that. I sent him a card. But he really shouldn’t have reached out again, and he did. I’m not willing to sell myself short by going back to a relationship that was dead in the water and going absolutely nowhere. I’ve already lost weight, gotten into better shape, am sleeping a lot better (or was, until he reached out) and was getting some new traction in my career. Enough of this garbage. 2013 is going to rock. Forward.

  45. Jule says:

    Yay Simple pleasures that’s awesome! I too read this and it stays with me and has helped me with my behavior as I navigate through the sea of people I encounter.

    One thing I’ve learned most of all is boundaries and sticking to them. I also think I have learned to stop apologizing for being alive and having my own ideas, my own wishes and that I’m not doing anything wrong by being authentic and sticking up for myself and what’s right for ME. I have learned to be my best advocate. It feels good to have my back. I give myself permission to say NO if something doesn’t sit right with me and to say YES if only my gut says it’s cool. I can’t begin to explain to everyone how freeing that is after 2 marriages where I was putting up with things just so that I wouldn’t be abandoned and unloved. Those days are over.

    • natashya says:

      thank you for this, jule. i am struggling with the boundaries, my self esteem and how to get back on my feet. i often feel very lonely, but what you said about putting up with things while married i felt instantly claustrophobic. i wasn’t technically alone but often more lonely than ever.

  46. Lilly says:

    The exMM’s disappearance, since I turned down his offer to meet up, has caused a great deal of anxiety and I’m struggling. I’ve been obsessing, checking emails and wondering when he’s going to make contact again, but I’m still glad that I didn’t meet up with him and I won’t contact him. I’m determined to try and get through the pain and let go. Today is the first anniversary of losing my baby and I think that’s increasing my anxiety. I was prescribed diazepam last year and decided to take one today to help take the edge off. I haven’t relied on them and the bottle is still full, but it has helped me today. I’m so determined to ride this out, but it’s hard. It’s as if I’m sitting on a fence, I can see freedom ahead, but I’m scared to jump.

    • Eponine says:


      If you want, I’ll hold your hand and stand with you in this time. I’m so, so very sorry for your losses, your grief and your struggle. Maybe, today is just a good day to nurture yourself, reach out to trusted friends, come to BR, read a good book, take a nice bath, watch a movie, or put the kettle on and make some soothing tea…

      Don’t worry, you will get there. Sometimes, it is just baby step by baby step.

      Hang on and know that you are loved and supported here. I believe in you.

      My coach said that once we are working on ourselves, we have already arrived, b/c we are just finding our way back to who we really are.

      I do know how you feel. I lost a child, too. It does get better with time and work, grief, support, love, nurturing yourself, rest, taking good care of yourself and remembering what you believe.

      There is so much brightness ahead of you. ((((hugs))))



      • Lilly says:


        Thank you so much for your comforting words and yes please I would love you to hold my hand. It’s 10.30pm here in Australia and it’s been a long, difficult day. My sister and a friend came over and we took out all the items I have kept. My most precious item is my son’s little hand and foot prints and bless the wonderful nurse who suggested this to me. It’s like I can touch him. I re-read all the cards from the people who cared, lit a candle and told him I loved him. There were tears, but it was comforting and I think I’m beginning to forgive myself for not saving him. A part of me was hoping to hear from the ex today, but I didn’t. I didn’t really expect any different not now and it doesn’t hurt like it did. I suppose it’s all about letting go of that tiny little hope that things might be different. But today wasn’t about him it was about my son. I’ve accepted that he’s gone, but I don’t want to let go of him today. Eponine, I’m so sorry for the loss of your child, I will take comfort that it gets less painful with time and the pain has lessened these past few months, but my yearning for him hasn’t. Love and hugs to you too, xxx.

        • Jule says:

          big hugs to you Lilly. I cried when you read your message. I’m glad you have your sister and others to help you through this and I hope you can find the strength to continue not to contact him.

        • Eponine says:

          Hi, Lilly,

          I am so glad that you had such wonderful support yesterday. It is amazing how many truly awesome people there are in this world. (Our nurses did the same thing for us).
          It was such a lovely gesture.

          The pain does lessen and I believe we get stronger to bear the burden of our grief, though the yearning does remain. It becomes ok with time.

          I try to be kind and patient with myself these days. It makes such a difference and I am still holding onto NC (take 8, I think) it is 2 weeks tomorrow. I could never have come this far without the support and wisdom of Nat and all the ladies and gents here.

          Seems like the more kind and nurturing I am to myself, the better I am with others and the more progress I make toward a better life, holding my boundaries, etc, but it is hard and it does take time and I think that’s ok. The beginning is the hardest, I think.

          We had this cheer in high school. If our team lost a down or something…'”It just doesn’t matter…it just doesn’t matter!!” That cheer cracked me up. But, it doesn’t matter if we LOOK defeated, or even feel that way today…we will still make it. We’re still on our way. It is not over for us.

          In my world view, it is not over for my little child, either. Just a temporary HARD separation.

          I absolutely believe you will get over that guy and it will get easier. I believe that you will soon find that you never needed him, really. There will be many more lovely people in your life.

          Thank you for your kind words, too. I surely appreciated that and needed that-and thanks for holding my hand, b/c some days are harder than others.

          I am rooting for you over here in France, and sending you thoughts of love and peace…yes, and joy!! promise.

          BIG hugs, Lilly,
          You are doing great!


    • Tulipa says:

      Hugs to you Lilly.

      I think it is part of the game they play they disappear we get anxious and end up texting, e-mailing etc. and contact resumes. Hope you find the strength not to contact him.

      • Lilly says:


        I agree it is all part of their stupid, cruel game. He’s been trying to get me to meet up with him for weeks and I haven’t given in, but I was getting some strange comfort from the fact that he was still there hovering in the background. His disappearance has triggered my anxiety levels and I’m struggling, but I’m getting some strength from somewhere because I know I will not contact him. Part of me is hoping that he never contacts me again making it easy for me, another part desperately wants him to contact me, another part knows he will sooner or later. It’s what I do when he does that counts. I hope I’m strong enough to go fully NC. Sometimes I cannot believe that this has all happened. I want my old self back, but she’s gone. Thank you for the hug and hugs to you too, xxx.

        • Mymble says:

          I am so sorry.
          Years ago I lost 2 much longed for pregnancies, (earlier than yours but after 14 weeks) that was devastating enough with a supportive partner who did share my feelings. I can’t imagine how dreadful it would be dealing with a heartless AC as well.
          He is regrouping now, and you can be sure he’ll pop up again, no doubt some lame email, sooner or later, albeit without any better offer. With these people it’s never really over until you decide it is.
          I am saying this very very gently…(I truly hope this is not insensitive) but having my kids really did help me get over the lost ones. I hope your future does include children, but while you’re still engaging with AC you
          cannot do anything to move towards that.

    • Sunshine says:

      Hang in there, Lilly! Just look at how far you’ve come already! That has to give you strength! And the pills do help in moments like this, so don’t feel guilty for taking them. And I can totally relate to your fence analogy. I think I’m the same:) Love and hugs xxx

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Lilly. Cyber hug to you today :).
      Grief (as I have learned) is a not a straight & narrow path.There are ups & downs & when u think your doing great something triggers the feelings of loss again. Just ride thru them, they will pass. I have found journaling my feelings out helps me alot. Sometimes the pages are tear stained but thats OK too. Being scared of the future is OK but for me taking one day at time instead of looking to far ahead is less stressful & anxiety filled. Be good to you today !!! God Bless ..

    • Revolution says:

      Hi sweet Lilly,

      ((((HUGS))) When I read about your sweet little baby’s hand and footprints, I welled up. I’m so glad you have that memento. I’m also glad that, beyond this cyber-community here, you have kind friends who love you and who are there to hug you and hold your hand. When I read your comments about your son, I wish I was in Australia to give you a big bear hug. Keep going, my dear. You’re doing fine.

      As for the AC, it sounds to me like even if he does remember this day, he has to block it out of his mind in order to live with himself. Otherwise the guilt and responsibility of it all would overwhelm him. That doesn’t reflect on you or your beautiful baby. It reflects on him, and he will reap what he sows. And so will you. Blessings to you, Lilly.

      • Teddie says:

        On some level, he is glad the baby is no longer there. Flush, Lilly, flush! Big hug!

        • dancingqueen says:

          Hey Lilly add me to the big list of cyber hugs. We are all here for you, you do not need that awful monster in your life.

          I am glad that you have those mementos of your baby. He knew and felt your love; all children do feel that from their mothers, whether in or out of the womb.

          You protected him more than anyone could and although it hurts, he is there somewhere, he will always be part of you and you will always be part of him. Nothing will EVER break that bond with your son.


        • Lilia says:

          Lilly, a big hug to you!
          I will have my choir (we sing gospel) pray for you when we have our next practice.

    • Grizelda says:


      Who’s taking care of Lilly now? Who has Lilly’s best interests at heart? Who’s going to give Lilly support and kindness?

      Isn’t it about time you started asking yourself these questions? Because you may find the answer is a mixture of yourself, a couple special family members, maybe a friend or two, and of course us here virtually on BR. But the one individual who you can be sure is clearly and absolutely NOT the answer to any of those questions is your exMM. He will always be the source, not the solution, to your pain.

  47. lo j says:

    Grace … you are navigating this whole relationship thing quite well! Glad he’s not walking around with a banana hat. Forge ahead, sister. 😉

  48. AU says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I recently found your website and am eternally grateful! You have truly made sense of chaos. You have taken the mystery out of these behaviours and have systematically broken them down. You have given me personally a lot of insight into my own motivation and have given us the tools to look at our own actions at the root level. I am beginning to recognize patterns in ways I could not. Please, please, please let us know when you are coming to the U.S. next. Would love to thank you personally and meet fellow BR readers. Hope you are feeling better and best wishes to you and your family!

  49. miskwa says:

    Lilly: Great job for staying strong and not meeting up with the AC (or a$$hole). He doesnt really give a rats about either you or your baby.

    Sunshine: Happy somewhat belated birthday, do not have home internet and so I dont always get back to folks on time or anything near it.

    Revolution: I too often feel the same way. I wrote earlier that I really feel as though my time with my “true” ex was my last shot at being with a man that I respected and shared my values. it does seem as though everyone since has been AC city. My ex was/is a man who lived by his convictions, a veteran and high level academic administrator, he chained himself to our federal courthouse in protest of Gulf War I and did not give a rats what his colleagues or anyone thought. Now most everyone “available” that I meet near my age range is marginally employed often by choice, are frequently drug/alcohol users,anti intellectual, have zero ambition or purpose in life, and you couldnt squeeze convictions (except the criminal sort) out of them with a needle nosed pliers. I too get super cynical about men these days, especially when friends try and throw these stellar dudes at me. BS! its quality or nothing.

  50. Lilly says:


    I’d like to wish you a belated birthday and congratulations for the strict NC. t’s hard when they suddenly turn up again it just re-opens old wounds. It is better if they leave you alone and I’m glad you didn’t reply to his text because it is so easy to get sucked in again. I can relate to the hot and cold stuff, the come here go away, the nice followed by the cruel.It truly messes with your head. As for the fence analogy you did make a jump in the right direction, keep going. Refusing to meet up with him was me jumping in the right direction, but instead of forging ahead I keep getting back up on the bl..dy fence! Maybe this time….. Love and hugs, xxx.

    Kit-Kat, you have described the pattern of grief perfectly. One minute I can be fine and then something triggers me and back down I go. Today is a new day, big deep breath, life goes on and it won’t always be this way. I think you mentioned in another post that you can’t change the past, but you can change the future. Thank you for your support and much appreciated cyber hug. Hugs to you too, xxx.


    Thank you so much for your blessings and the big bear hug. I got a lot of strength from that, so much so that I don’t feel very sweet today! As you would say I feel like kicking some AC butt! I think I might need to be committed! I woke up today feeling like I was in hell – the pit of depression. The first thing I did was to check if he had emailed and of course he hasn’t. I’m sure he remembers the day just as I’m sure he has chosen not to mark it. I’m now feeling angry! What a roller coaster of emotions this is. How dare that man come knocking at my door again (work purposes of course!), constantly pester me to meet up with him, suddenly disappear off the face of the planet, ignore my child’s anniversary and bring me back down to this. Worse – how dare I let him do it! I’m feeling vulnerable and fearful, but I’m not going to give in to this. I agree that his behaviour is not a reflection of me or my son. It is a reflection of a selfish, manipulative, cruel, coward who does not care about us in the slightest. I know this, I know this, so why is it so hard to keep it there? Sorry for the rant Rev! Yesterday was a big day. Hugs and love to you, xxx.

    Teddie & Miskwa, when I first read your words I cried because it is true. When I first told him I’d lost the baby I could almost hear the relief in his voice. He made all the right sympathetic noises of course, but I knew. I’ve come a long way and for the most part I’ve accepted this harsh fact. It still hurts, but accepting the reality of the situation makes me feel stronger. It makes me feel angry and that gives me strength. I’m almost there; I can flush him, it’s all up to me. I can do this! Big hugs to you both, xxx.

    • Revolution says:


      “I’m now feeling angry!”

      My work here is done.

      Lol. Just kidding. But I DID want to say GOOD FOR YOU, “Not-so-sweet Lilly.” Lol. You just made my day. :)

    • Sunshine says:

      Thanks, Lilly:) And: you can make it! Step by step you’ll be off that fence, running into the brighter future. Sure it takes time and lots of self-work, but you’ll make it! You’re stronger than you think, just bear that in mind. xxx

  51. Jule says:

    Miskwa…I’m going to have to remember that one, “A**clown City” LOL. Thank you! I need to reach the A**clown city limits and keep on driving. I wonder what I’ll find on my road trip.

  52. Revolution says:


    Thanks for your comment! Reading it, my gut reaction was “There’s no way that her ex is her last chance saloon,” and then I had to laugh at the disparity of my thinking, not giving myself the same faith. Guess we all got something to learn, eh?

    And yes, quality all the way babe. You sound like a rad woman. Thank God there are women like you out there for the upcoming generation of girls. Hopefully a fair amount of them will put away the duck faces and learn something useful to do with their time, such as the skills you have described in your comments. Gotta admit, I can’t do most of the stuff you do. But I can fight and make a mean lasagna, so I guess there’s that.

    Best wishes, hon.

  53. Lilly says:

    Jule, Dancing Queen, Lilia & Mymble,

    Thank you all so much, your kindness, wisdom and support has helped me get through a very difficult couple of days. The AC hasn’t contacted me and I’m really ok with that. I have lots of precious little mementos of my baby, including his ultrasound pictures, his little prints, some photos, a shawl and a tiny teddy bear. A few months back I wanted to bundle them all up and force the AC to look at them, to see my son as the little human being he was, but I no longer want to do that. He doesn’t want to see any of it so I will treasure them by myself as I will love my baby myself. We don’t need him. Ladies, thank you for your understanding, your blessings and your prayers I am so moved, xxx.

  54. dawn says:

    I finally bought your book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl…..Not how I thought it would be…painful….to look in the mirror that the book creates…I find I can only read a chapter at a time and then I need to sit back and absorb…but OMG so right on in so many areas. I really thought my situation was so unique, but reading the book is like reading my own story to the tee!!! Im 41….Wish I could have got this message 20 years ago when time stopped for me. I have wasted so much time hiding. This book comes at a great time as I am sick of thinking about “us” and obsessing about what has been done to me. I just want to close that door and all the ugly that lies behind it.
    Thank You NML

  55. Amy says:

    Thank you thank you thank you Natalie for your wonderful blog and very illuminating book. I’m not sure I would have survived the last couple of weeks with any shred of dignity were it not for you!
    My AC played the “I just want to be alone” card a couple days before Christmas, waiting until yesterday to EMAIL me that his disappearing act was because he’s still “screwed up” (which I knew) and isn’t over his most recent ex (which was something I had suspected, but wow…EMAIL!!).
    I was so ANGRY with him over the amount of excessive overshare in that email, and then he tried the whole “but you’d be a great friend!” thing but I just decided to go NC. I could find no words to formulate a reply. Here I was being TOO darn nice thinking he was messed up over some family thing (more baggage than Heathrow!) and the whole time he was obsessing over his ex-GF. I had an online friendship with this AC for 11 years before we met face to face. Real life lasted 2 months. Were it not for your book I would have never realized how deep I had fallen into a pit of denial and FANTASY. The whole thing was a non-relationship based purely on my hopes and dreams for a reality with this guy. This whole thing has been one huge wake-up call for me about how much time I was spending online instead of getting out there in the real world and meeting people (not just men to date – but actual social interaction).
    Boundaries ARE a wonderful thing, and I am realizing just how much more work I have to do to solidify mine.

  56. Trina Morgan says:

    Thank you Natalie. I Googled “emotional unavailability” and found your booksite. I am a Seasoned Woman of 52 who recently started dating after a long hiatus . . .the same guy, last year, and again this year. After about a month of being the most amazing boyfriend ever, he just disappears. Says he needs to be alone and doesn’t want to explain himself. The first time I let him go with a thank you; this time I attempted to compromise with him. I agreed to give him plenty of space and alone time but stipulated that he give me at least 3 days notice if he wants to spend time with me. He couldn’t do it, so I said good bye.

    There aren’t a lot of quality men in the dating pool where I am at present; I’m very tempted to call him because the sex is so great and I got used to it! (Addicted, more like.) But after reading here and excerpts from your book, I am going to hold on to my resolve to be alone rather than with someone who so completely disregards me as a human being.

    Thank you. I’ll be back.

  57. Gina says:

    Hey Natalie,

    I changed, grown and learned alot about healthy relationships, your site really opened my eyes starting about 5 years ago. I look back and am baffled by the lies I accepted, because I really just needed an ego massage, and a fast and furious temporary relationship to feed my neediness and hunger.

    I finally got healthy and figured out who I was. I am happy to say that I am currently involved with a man in a very healthy start to a relationship. I am not scared to ask the serious questions to determine whether he will work for me, because ultimately I decided I truly wanted a healthy, loving relationship… and I would rather be single then be with someone who didn’t deserve me. I raised my standards, rejected a lot of people and ultimately found a man who I really like and look forward to seeing how this relationship blooms. I always have your quote in the back of my mind “dating is a discovery phase”. This is the first time in my life that I see how a healthy relationship works with a man who is present. From willingly saying he wants to take down his online dating profile, to expressing his liking for me, to matching words/actions, sharing valuees, to ultimately asking me to be exclusive, there was absolutely no guess work! I love it, and so grateful for getting healthy to attract that in a partner.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.